Murder on Nob Hill
This is the first book in a new series set in 1880s San Francisco, featuring Sarah Woolson, one of the first women lawyers in California. Sarah has always dreamed of becoming a lawyer in spite of all the obstacles facing women in that profession. Her first client is Annjennet Hanaford, a young widow accused of murdering her wealthy husband. There appears to be an ironclad case against Sarah’s client, especially after another wealthy man—one of Hanaford’s three partners in a mining operation many years before—is murdered in Chinatown, and it turns out that Annjennet’s lover has a connection to the second victim. No one but Sarah believes in her client’s innocence. But that does not stop her—with the reluctant help of a young associate attorney who is a potential love interest—from searching for the real killer.
Sarah Woolson is a wonderful character—feisty, intelligent, and determined to get ahead in a profession that was practically closed to women at that time. At times this book reminded me of Dianne Day’s Fremont Jones novels, also set in San Francisco, although in a slightly later period, and featuring another independent young woman making her way in the world. Murder on Nob Hill is a very promising beginning to what looks like an excellent new series.